Scotland Times

Thursday, Jun 08, 2023

Covid-19: NI vaccination passport applications extended

Covid-19: NI vaccination passport applications extended

People in Northern Ireland who are travelling abroad up to and including 10 August can now apply for a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.

The certificate allows travellers to prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for countries which require that for entry.

The system was offline for several days having been dogged by technical problems but resumed on Saturday night.

Officials said anyone leaving after 10 August should not use the system yet.

The Department of Health said increased traffic on the site may mean others cannot get their certificates on time.

"We would appeal to those travelling later than 10 August that they do not apply at this time and help us help their fellow citizens," said the department.

'Large numbers of applications'

The system, which can be accessed through the NI Direct website, had been offline since last Tuesday amid concerns about some users being able to see other people's information.

The data breach that caused the suspension has been reported to the Information Commissioner's Office, which said it is assessing what happened.

The aim of the CovidCertNI system is to allow people to show they have had two doses of a vaccine

Dr Eddie O'Neill, the official in charge of the system, said most applications were being processed automatically but a small number had to be manually assessed.

"Some of them we can't process because they don't meet the criteria, such as being less than 14 days since your second vaccination," he said.

"We don't make those rules - that's under EU regulations, we don't control that.

"The good news is that of 2,900 applications, 2,600 have got their certificates and we're well on course to completing [applications for] 2 August.

"All that we can possibly progress, we will process."

Dr O'Neill said he believed some people had been applying for certification without having an urgent need for it.

"These are pretty large volumes of applicants and I doubt that all of those people who have applied are travelling today or tomorrow," he said.

"We think that some people have not respected the request to focus on people with a more pressing need."

What went wrong?

On Tuesday evening, the Department of Health announced that its vaccination certification service had "experienced a technical difficulty and availability will be temporarily interrupted".

It added that officials were "aware that a limited number of users... may be presented with data relating to other users".

When asked about the security problems on Friday, Dr Eddie O'Neill, from the Department of Health, said: "The problem wasn't actually in anything that we built."

Dr Eddie O'Neill says large numbers of people have been applying for certification service

He said that the system is using the NI Direct website's identity facility, through which people can set up a personal user account to access services such as driving licence renewals.

"It was never built for the scale of applications that we've been getting - thousands and thousands - and as a result of that just one of the components in the back end just failed."

How does NI compare to the rest of the UK?

Adults registered with GPs in England can apply for a NHS Covid Pass, which allows users to show proof of their vaccination, test or immunity status.

They are available to download through the NHS app (in England only) or applicants can request a paper document to be posted to their home address.

Holidaymakers in Scotland have been able to access a vaccine certificate since 19 May - it could be downloaded from an NHS portal or requested in the post through a freephone Covid status helpline.

However, the site suffered a security glitch on 22 May which enabled people to alter details on the document.

A fix was implemented on 25 May, which meant people in Scotland could only request the document be sent to them by post.

In Wales, public health advice still states that residents should "avoid international travel" but that is guidance rather than a ban.

Paper vaccine certificates have been available since May, and on 25 June the digital NHS Covid Pass became available for "urgent travel" only.

At that time, the Welsh government advised people to register to download the digital pass at least two weeks before they were due to travel abroad.

Unlike England however, residents in Wales cannot use the NHS app to access the NHS Covid Pass.

Instead they need to register for an NHS login which requires submitting photo ID such as a passport or driving licence.

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Related Articles

Scotland Times
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
A Real woman
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Democracy? Not for UK. UK PM rejects Scottish independence referendum, cancel democracy in BVI
UK urged to brace for economic storm
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Prince William To Move Family Into Cottage Near Queen Elizabeth II
BOOOOOOS: Tony Blair receives royal honour
Captured Britons sentenced to death in Ukraine
Barbados PM Mia A. Mottley among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
Today's headlines
"Just One Of the Boys In School:" Years That Shaped Prince Charles
BVI Premier Rubbishes Claim Of Causing COI Delay
Comments on "Human Intelligence in a Digital Age" - A brilliant Speech by MI6 Chief Richard Moore, and the elephants neglected in the room
Bitcoin: BoE Deputy Gov wants to cancel democracy and protect the banks with regulations which infringe on people’s freedom, independence and benefits they get from their own money.
What are the Pandora Papers?
Taiwan-China relations at their 'worst in 40 years'
The attempt to hold accountable for the content of its clients' websites is like blaming Gutenberg for the NYT's fake news that dragged the US into the pointless war against the nuclear weapons Iraq never had